What happens upon receipt of a Criminal Summons in Florida? In some jurisdictions, the use of a Criminal Summons was part of criminal justice even prior to COVID. Some people are surprised to receive a Summons, while others are made aware of a criminal investigation and may be expecting it or relieved to receive a Summons instead of being arrested.
Much has changed in the practice of Florida criminal defense during COVID. With varying orders being issued by the Florida Supreme Court, the Chief Judges of the Circuits, County and local municipalities, we are all dealing with the semi-shutdown as best we can. It seems that new orders, tweaking the last set, are made about every other week.
In criminal cases, it is not uncommon for people to call the office after their current lawyer has failed to reach an acceptable agreement with the prosecutors or the caller does not like the offer received. Sometimes, the unfortunate circumstance of the case is that the prosecutor will not make a deal. Sometimes just having a lawyer who answers to the Defendant for their paycheck instead of the government makes a big difference to the Defendant. Sometimes there are things that can be done to present the case in a better light.
In the drug defense subset of criminal defense an amazing number of cases begin at a traffic stop. One example is issues with the license plate or tag, whether it is the infamous tag light, expired tag or an obscured tag. These stops are difficult to defend without a video showing the cops to be incorrect (or worse).
Constructive possession means other than physical possession. In the world of criminal defense this usually means drugs or narcotics, firearms or other contraband are found but, not in the pocket or in the bra of the defendant. Constructive possession is an important concept for cases involving possession of a firearm by a convicted felon or a concealed firearm or weapon without a license. For example, you possess that television on your wall, you can move it, throw it away, and beat it with a baseball bat because you control it. However, no one carries around their flat screen in their back pocket.
For some it is getting the letter or notice of Habitual Traffic Offender ("HTO") in the mail. For others it is getting arrested after being pulled over for no reason or even if there was a traffic citation, surprise! The license is being, or has been, suspended for five (5) years. The driver has been habitualized! After Notice from the DHSMV, we can determine the next step to attempt to reinstate the license. An analysis of the driver record may be required.
Criminal and traffic defense can be a difficult area to practice. It seems that every time a constitutional protection might favor a person, the government finds a way to circumvent or change the law. A recent criminal traffic case of driving on a suspended license reminded me of a stop that, the fact that it is a legal stop, absolutely blows my mind.
Tony Stewart's crash that killed another driver, Kevin Ward Jr., will be investigated by law enforcement. A few minutes into the business day and I am already being asked "for what?" While some feel this is an incident for which Mr. Ward waived any civil actions by assuming the risk of death when he exited his vehicle and tried to confront a race car,, there are others that want our government to investigate all incidents of death with an eye towards prosecution.
Practicing criminal law or being involved in the criminal justice system is never boring. Recently a caller to 911 asked "where can I buy some marijuana this morning?" This call looking to buy pot from the police almost sounds like a joke.
Carrying a concealed firearm is a felony criminal offense in Florida with several exceptions that almost eat the rule. All of the exceptions, of course, require that the person is not otherwise prohibited from carrying a firearm concealed or otherwise. For example, the exceptions do not apply to people who have an active domestic violence injunction, are on probation, or are a convicted felon.